2019 property tax rate down as city’s overall valuation is up

LYNDEN ­— The city police force is now at 15 officers for the first time in about two years, after Joshua Scholten was sworn in at the Jan. 22 Lynden City Council meeting. 

Scholten, a Lynden Christian High School graduate with about four years of police experience so far, was pinned by his wife, Kelly, after taking his oath of office.

The department will head toward getting a 16th officer, as allowed in the 2019 city budget, in the course of this year, said Police Chief John Billester.

The front-line force has been understaffed and pushed to excessive overtime duty by retirements since 2017.

On other action:

Historic residential buildings will be allowed to be moved within city limits if they otherwise would be demolished. The building must be potentially eligible to be listed on a register of historic places.

This is a revision of long-standing city policy that otherwise keeps buildings from being relocated within the city.

The city’s property tax rate for 2019 will be $1.79746 per $1,000 of valuation. That is a 14-cent drop from 2018 due to a hefty increase of more than $200 million in property  valuation by the County Assessor’s Office, reported city councilor Jerry Kuiken.

The city’s actual levy amount is about $3.3 million on about $1.83 billion in total appraised value.

The city is taking its allowed annual 1 percent increase of property taxes.

A latecomers application has been created to be used, for up to 20 years, to recover the $607,000 cost of putting in a sanitary sewer extension serving the North Prairie Phase 7 plat around Northwood and Kamm roads. The division per acre comes to $3,957.

This topic will be up for public hearing at the council’s Feb. 4 meeting.

Kuiken reported that Lynden in 2018 took in a little over $2.7 million in sales tax, almost matching 2017, as the economy is cooling off in general across the United States.

The Lynden Fire Department hosts its first community CPR training class on Wednesday, Feb. 6, starting at 6 p.m., in City Hall Annex, 205 Fourth St. Citizens can sign up at the fire station for $15.